FY22 GDP may grow by 9.2% amid surging COVID-19 cases, estimates NSO

The Indian economy remains on track to regain its position as the world’s fastest-growing major economy, according to official estimates released on Friday. The government data has put the GDP expansion at a tempered 9.2 per cent in this financial year amid concerns over the impact of a resurgent virus on the fragile recovery. 

The growth in the GDP of 9.2 per cent in April 2021 to March 2022 (FY2021-22), given by the National Statistical Office (NSO) in its first advance estimate compares with 9.5 per cent expansion forecast by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last month. 

The economy had contracted by 7.3 per cent in the previous financial year (FY2020-21). 

With one quarter still left in the current financial year, there has been a surge in daily COVID-19 cases in recent days, driven by the Omicron variant, which is set to overtake Delta as the dominant strain. 

This has prompted fresh restrictions in several parts of the country, threatening the fragile economic recovery. 

Risks to the economy stem from an Omicron-led third wave which may upend growth revival across sectors, specially the contact-intensive services industries. 

With 9.2 per cent growth in FY22, the economy will surpass the pre-COVID level in actual terms, mainly on account of improved performance by farm, mining and manufacturing sectors. 

“Real GDP or GDP at Constant Prices (2011-12) in the year 2021-22 is estimated at Rs 147.54 lakh crore as against the provisional estimate of GDP for the year 2020-21 of Rs 135.13 lakh crore that was released on May 31, 2021. 

“The growth in real GDP during 2021-22 is estimated at 9.2 per cent as compared to the contraction of 7.3 per cent in 2020-21,” a statement by the NSO has said. 

The projection is less than the 9.5 per cent forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and S&P, while Moody’s Investors Service had in recent weeks put India’s growth forecast at 9.3 per cent. Fitch Ratings has projected an 8.7 per cent expansion. 

The World Bank has been the most conservative, projecting an 8.3 per cent growth rate, while the OECD has put it at 9.7 per cent. 

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